Although it may seem like many cancer patients face the same issues or complications, especially when it comes to breast cancer, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Breast cancer affects each patient in a different manner, and varies depending on a range of factors including age, previous health conditions and the severity of the cancer itself.
For those who are in remission or are deemed cancer-free, there are steps that can be taken to reclaim parts of their lives. Many choose to undergo breast reconstruction surgery, but how long they may wait to do so can vary.
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia, younger white women are more likely to undergo an immediate breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. In comparison, those who are non-white and older than 45 are more likely to wait or not have the procedure done at all. The study also found that rates of breast reconstruction surgeries rose between 2005 and 2011 to 40 percent, an increase of 14 percent. More than half of the women under the age of 45 had immediate reconstruction, compared to just 11 percent who identified as 65 or older.
The results, published in the American Journal of Surgery, also found that 35 percent of white women choose to undergo immediate reconstruction, in comparison to 33 percent of Latina women and 24.6 percent of African Americans.
“We used to think women shouldn’t have reconstruction immediately, we should treat the cancer first, but in the vast majority of cases immediate reconstruction is just as safe as later reconstruction,” said Dr. Andrea Pusic of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Although breast cancer reconstruction may be an ideal choice for many, it is a procedure that should only be chosen under the discretion of an experienced plastic surgeon and your own personal physician. Undergoing breast cancer treatments can be extremely taxing on the body, changing it completely. Often, reconstruction does give patients the ability to change their lives, but should only be completed when every consideration is taken into account including health, risk of cancer returning, medical predisposition and mental health, among other factors.
Breast reconstruction can be completed through a range of different procedures which will be discussed during your initial consultation. All types have the same common goal though, to return the breast to near normal shape, appearance, and size prior to the cancer.
Although breast reconstruction can rebuild the breast, it will not have the same sensation or feel as the breast it has replaced, visible incision lines will often be permanent and certain surgical techniques may leave marks on other parts of the body as well.
If you believe breast reconstruction is right for you, consider scheduling a consultation today.